Yiyi Yu

2023 IVLP Impact Award Project: Dancing with DementiaChina

With over 8 years of experience in the performing arts in Hong Kong and mainland China, Yiyi has mainly focused on developing cross-disciplinary international initiatives. These initiatives have encompassed the areas of classical music, theatre, and dance. Yiyi currently works at Poly Theatre Group.

IVLP Impact Award Project: Dancing with Dementia

The project was an arts therapy program which physically, mentally and socially supported elders living with cognitive disorders in the communities of Beijing and Shanghai. The first phase of the project involved recruiting sixteen specialists in dance and music therapy as well as community workers who volunteered to help implement the project. To prepare them for this role, Yiyi held three days of preliminary professional training for her volunteers.

The main phase of the project involved providing support to elders and their caregivers and families through five workshops focused on dance therapy and how to support elders living with dementia. The 90 attendees were a mix of elders with dementia and their family/caregivers, and in the post-workshop assessment, the majority of the participants used words like “happy” “relaxed” and “grateful” to describe how they were feeling. Additionally, one caregiver who attended the workshop said, "This is a rare moment of respite for me, an hour where I can be myself and focus on myself."

"My mother has just been diagnosed with dementia. I feel that it is very difficult for a family member to face dementia... I came to participate in the training...It’s very rewarding, and I hope it can not only help my mother, but also other elderly people with dementia" - Project Volunteer

IVLP Exchange Experience 

Yiyi was a participant in the IVLP Project Performing Arts and Cultural Centers in the United States, organized by the U.S. Department of State and the Institute of International Education.

Yiyi's exchange experience led to the development of her IVLP Impact Award Project: "The [participants] I built connections with, and the knowledge shared became a great source of inspiration to fuel my idea."

U.S. Communities Visited

Washington, DC; Orlando, FL; Boston, MA; Kalamazoo, MI; Minneapolis, MN; New York City, NY; Cleveland, OH

Country: China 

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